#Returntheplastics is an EU citizens initiative with the proposal to recycle plastic bottles based on a 15 euro cents deposit fee for every plastic bottle purchase in the European Union. The European Commission has adopted the decision to register the initative which was submitted to the Commission on 2 July 2021.
The objectives of the initiative are expressed as follows: (1) To implement an EU-wide deposit-system to recycle plastic bottles; (2) To incentivize all EU Member states that supermarkets (chains) which are selling plastic bottles to install reverse vending machines for recycling the plastic bottles after being purchased and used by the consumer; (3) To make the plastic bottle producing companies pay plastic taxes for the recycling and deposit-system of the plastic bottles (under the principle that the polluter should pay).
In particular, the initiative proposes an ‘EU Directive for a deposit system to allow consumers to conveniently return their plastic bottles to the supermarkets where they were purchased’, with a suggested deposit of EUR 0.15 per bottle. It claims that such a system is needed in view of the fact that plastic bottles, which are among the most commonly used plastic products, are not included in the single-use plastics ban. The goal of the initiative is to have the #ReturnthePlastics recycling system for plastic bottles implemented in five Member States by the time the Climate Conference COP26 is held on 1-12 November 2021, and later in the whole of the Union.